As I sat at the Inn's bar early in the morning, the smell of my favorite, warm apple pie filled my nostrils. Nothing beats the taste of apple pie in the morning. It would be entirely engulfing my thoughts if I wasn't too busy worrying about Gray, my loving husband of five years now. It's not like me to leave before he wakes and I'm sure he'll be worried sick, but I couldn't help it. I just really had a craving for apple pie.
My stomach growled. I'm sure Ann could hear it all the way in the kitchen.
"I'm coming! Hold your horses."
"Ann," I called back. "I didn't say anything!"
"Who said I was talking to you?" she said opening the door with her shoulder. "I was talking to that monster of a stomach of yours," she continued as she laid the steaming plate in front of me.
It took most of my self control not to maul the cinnamony goodness of the pie nature, but according to the look on Ann's face I'm sure I was still attacking the pie pretty good.
Then all of a sudden the redhead's expression changed. She grinned.
I froze. When has anything good ever come from that grin?
Ann leaned on the bar table towards me; her smile grew wider.
"So…when did you find out?"
"Find out what?"
"Come on. You know," she said grinning still.
"What?" I asked. It's early in the morning. I don't feel like playing these games.
"Claire," she said catching my attention. "Of all the times you show up first thing in the morning before the Inn even opens begging for apple pie, what did they all have in common?"
I let the air out of my lungs. There was no hiding anything from Ann. "You couldn't just go along with the playing dumb? I wanted Gray to be the first to know," I said smiling.
"Eeeep! I knew it! Gray got to know first last time so I get to be first this time," she said jumping around the table to embrace me in a hug.
"Says who?" I said joking.
"Says the book I'm writing: Ann is ALWAYS Right."
"Boy or girl? Which do you think?" she asked releasing me.
Involuntarily I placed a hand on my flat stomach. "I…I'm not sure. I'm just hoping my DNA wins the battle this time."
Ann laughed. "Well….with Rose, I still don't see that much Gray in her besides the hair and temper. Otherwise she looks just like you, but no one in town sides with me on that. I don't know why," the redhead said rolling her eyes by the end.
I stifled a laugh.
"With Lucas I say it's a draw. I see both of you in him."
I smiled thinking of my four year old son. He managed to get my blonde hair, but he ended up getting dark green-blue eyes, which according to Saibara comes from his wife's side of the family. It made the old blacksmith smile when he saw those eyes. Also like Rose, Lucas ended up with that ticking time bomb of a temper.
If I end up with another with that temper of his I swear to the Harvest Goddess with all my might I'm going to shake the living daylights out of that man! I love Gray with all of my heart, but this temper should NOT be hereditary. I don't know what I'm going to do when Rose hits puberty. I might runaway to live in the mines.
I blinked. "What?" I asked Ann simply.
"You zoned out on me."
"Sorry," I muttered taking another bite of my pie.
"Have you thought of any names yet?"
"A few," I said thinking pensively.
"Tell me," she said sitting in the chair next to me.
"For a boy I like the name Max."
"It would be hard to resist calling him Maxi-pad."
I scowled at her.
"How about Isaac?"
I took another bite of the warm apple goodness. "Hmmm….I like the sound of that. I'll keep it in mind."
"What about girl names?" she asked. "I would love it if you named one after moi!"
I bit my lip to hold back the laughter. Yeah right. "Well…I have a feeling that it wouldn't sit too well with Gray."
Ann rolled her eyes.
"What wouldn't sit too well with Gray?" said a familiar deep voice.
I didn't have to turn to know who it was. I smiled.
Gray leaned over, landed a peck on my cheek, and sat in the chair on the other side of me.
I slapped my hand over Ann's mouth.
Gray looked at us in half curiosity.
"Gray where are the kids?" I asked in a sweet sugar coated tone.
He fought back a smile because of my obviously fake tone. "Grandpa wanted them for the day."
"Good," I said smiling.
"Agreed," Ann said even though my hand still covered her mouth.
I jumped my hand away, wiping the Inn keeper's germs off on my pant leg. "Quiet," I hissed at her.
Gray tilted his head to the side. "Claire?"
I turned back to face him. I felt as if I was brimming with happiness and rainbows and all that other pink fuzzy stuff of bliss. Within a few weeks or so it would all be gone as the nausea of morning sickness dominated my life once more.
"Claire?" he said again.
"Well Ann here thinks that if we have another girl we should name her Ann, but I prefer the name Danielle. Well we got nine months to decide."
His expression froze in a mix of shock and joy. "D-d-do you mean?"
"Our family is going to get just a little bit larger."
"Little bit?" he said matching my grin. He then pressed his lips to mine, making my heart flutter.
I don't know why I was so scared all those years ago.
Yeah right. You know we both thought for some reason he was going to hate us for running away. For not telling him about Rose.
But he wasn't mad one bit. Just weak. Very, very weak.
I bit my lip, holding back a giggle. The memory of him passing out at the news is so humorous now.
Now. You were a crying wreck of panic when he fainted.
Anyways, I am just happy that Rose excepted him as her father right away.
It's also good that she is young enough that she will never remember our life in the city.
Definitely. I smiled remembering the memory.
"Rose," I said picking my daughter up and placing her in my lap.
It was the morning after Gray proposed to me. You would think I would be completely stress free for the most part because I wouldn't be carrying the secret around anymore, but it only made me obsess over a new issue: Rose. Will she even accept Gray into her life?
"Mama?" she said in her baby tone, her sapphire blue eyes stared into me. I could see Gray in those eyes, they were his eyes. It brought me a sense of strength.
"Rose, can you tell me what you think of your new friend Gray?"
"He's really nice! I like him," she said smiling. Then her head tilted to the side, "Mama?"
"Uncle Kai said-"
"I'm sorry dear but Uncle Kai?"
I could tell by the flash in her eyes that she was annoyed at my interruption but she responded, "He told me to call him that."
"Well…you should call him Auntie Kai instead."
Rose burst into a fit of giggles. "Your silly mommy! Kai's a boy. He can't be an auntie."
I grinned. She's too smart for her own good. "Well, I'll get you an ice cream cone if you call him that in his presence."
Her eyes lit up. "Ok Mommy!"
"Now I'm sorry honey, but what was it that you were going to tell me?"
"Un-Auntie Kai told me that Gray is my daddy. That's why we came here. He said you used to live here a long time ago but had to go to the city. Is that true?"
I swallowed my spit. "Yes. It's all true. I had to go to the city and not long later I had you," I said squeezing her in a tight hug. The little Gray-clone of a daughter of mine squealed. "Sadly the city is so far away so I had to save for both of us to come home. That's why it took so long. And Gray is your daddy. He already loves you more than the moon."
The next time she saw Gray she ran into his arms calling him daddy. It took him a while to not blush intensely every time she said it, but he loved it every time she said it. The next time my Rose saw Kai…well lets just say his expression was priceless and the name stuck. Even now she calls her beloved Kai, Auntie Kai. And no one in the town lets him live it down.
"Claire," my husband said bringing me back to the present.
His expression of worry melted to a sweet, soft smile. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too," I whispered back and ignoring the gagging sounds Ann made behind me.
Hey everyone! Ok so as I was sitting at home reading the reviews on my phone I read one that gave me a very, very good idea. So Random Jelly Beans, who is one of my favorite authors, said its Epilogue time and you know what? The whole idea of this sprung out of my head and screamed at me: WRITE ME NOW! And I was like it is most definitely Epilogue time.
So Random Jelly Beans this Epilogue is just for you! Thank you for getting me thinking! : )
Everyone I hope you all enjoyed this little surprise! : ) And I'm working on the little one-shot of Kai and Rose's day together. I'm 99% certain that I will just post it as another chapter here. But just in case keep an eye out on just in category and my profile page. I'm not sure when I'll have it done though. Hopefully soon!
Thanks for reading! : )